Kiwanis Club of San Marcos

May....Have You Ever Heard.....5/21/18

"Rub the Wrong Way!"
 
     This saying means to deal with someone insensitively, whether on purpose or by accident.  The term goes back to colonial times and wide oak-board floors.  Once a week, servants had to wet-rub and then dry-rub these floors.  Seems simple?"  Well, if it wasn't done with the grain, it looked awful because streaks were made.  To the owner, this was worse than not doing it at all!  And a real embarrassment to any company that came.  So a servant was called clumsy or inept by their employer.  Today, the term means anyone (floors or not) who irritates others by a clumsy word or action.
     Another version:  To "Rub (someone) the wrong way" also refers to animals.  Take a cat for instance: if you rub it along the way its fur grows (head to tail), it's fine, but if you rub it the wrong way (from tail to head), it gets extraordinarily angry and irritated.